My Dad’s Secret Steak Sauce

May 9, 2011Katie

This is my Dad.

My Dad makes some awesome steaks.  In fact, my kids say the best steaks on the planet.  And it’s all about the sauce he brushes on them as he grills.  They’re tender, they’re juicy, and the sauce is…

Amazingly good.

For years, I’ve been wanting to know exactly how he makes this sauce.  My son who has been mentored by his “Sensei” Grandpa, on the fine art of this steak sauce, has pretty much got it down. 

However, I wanted cold hard evidence of the recipe,  so yesterday, I stood, camera in hand, and watched to see how my Dad whipped up his magical brew.

First off – the ingredients.

You’ve heard the phrase “everything but the kitchen sink”?   Well, here is the list of ingredients Dad used today.  Ketchup, honey mustard salad dressing, BBQ sauce, worcestershire sauce, Heinz 57, tobasco and even my friend Nicolas Scafetta’s family made house salad dressing from their restaurant.

I stood and scratched my head. “Dad,” I commented.  “I’ve watched you before, and don’t remember seeing you use honey mustard dressing,”  as I watched him randomly dump in two or three of the items into a plastic creamer pitcher.  There was no measuring, no logic.  Just random pouring a little of this and a little of that.  Come to think of it, that’s how I usually cook as well! The hardest thing about being a food blogger for me, is to document quantities.

That and the dishes that need to be done afterward.

So anyway, from the kitchen area behind me, my son pipes up loudly,  “Mom, that’s because there is no recipe.  It’s just whatever’s in the refrigerator.”

So again, I am still at a loss for my Dad’s steak recipe.  But a few things I have gathered that make it work and help give it that unique flavoring.  There must be ..

A citrus acid. 

Today Dad used 1/2 lemon, (really only a tablespoon).  I’ve seen him use orange juice or even lime juice before.  This provides a tenderizer to the marinade/sauce.

Usually there is always ketchup, and BBQ sauce to provide some brightness and also some sweet smokiness to the equation.

But the true and unique thing that makes my Dad’s sauce truly special, I’m convinced is…

The coffee.

Dad uses coffee to either thin or thicken his sauce.  If the sauce is thin, he adds coffee grounds, which he did today.

If the sauce is too thick, he thins it with already brewed coffee leftover from today’s pot.

Then he salts and peppers the steaks to get them ready for the grill.  But today we used this:

This is a fabulous steak rub my sis-in-law Cheryl brought me back from Hawaii.  Da Kine Hawaiian Da Rub.  It has many yummy things in it, one of them being Kona coffee.  I thought it would compliment Dad’s sauce so I sprinkled some on.

And Dad took these babies out to the grill.

Where he kept slathering on this savory goodness until the steaks were nicely pinky-red inside.

Except my Mom’s steak.  She prefers hers well done and cardboard tasting.

We’re working on that food-crime as well as trying to put her through therapy about how to stop picking the white stringy things out of cracked eggs.

Does anyone else know someone who does that?

Then we bring them in to rest for a few minutes and serve them up.

So maybe my Dad’s steak sauce is still top secret? Maybe not…

But I have solved a few more pieces of the puzzle.


  • Lisa

    May 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Sounds delish!
  • Fran J

    May 9, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Katie, I sometimes pick out the white strings in eggs if they are big. Denis' brother, Pat does, too.
  • kenika

    May 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I love eating the steaks your dad makes...which leads me to this question "WHERE WAS I AT WHEN YOU GUYS GRILLED STEAKS???" :(( I'm sure the answer is 'when you were at work'. NEVER AGAIN I TELL YA!!!!!
  • Laurie Reyes

    May 10, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Call me crazy but I like my steaks well done and pick out the stringy thing from the eggs too, if I don't pick them out I am usually the one that finds it in my plate of food...gross! I have a bunch of other verging on the edge of OCD behaviors that drive my family crazy as well. The steak sauce sounds great, I will try it out, however I have trouble just winging it because I like things to be precise!!!
  • Susan Garrett

    May 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    My mom uses one of those little silver things you use to take the stem off strawberries to pick out the white stringy things - she says they make poached eggs tough
    1. dishinanddishes

      May 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      Wow...never knew so many people did this..never heard the part of them making poached eggs tough?
  • Chris

    April 8, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    do you have the measurement by any chance? thanks
    1. Katie

      April 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Chris- no! That is the crazy thing! He just dumps stuff together! I will try to replicate and post!

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